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Gather 'Round the Fire Pit: Outdoor Thanksgiving Table Settings for a Cozy Feast

by DecorMatters|Nov 15, 2023

Thanksgiving is a time to come together with family and friends, give thanks, and enjoy a delicious feast. While many of us traditionally celebrate this holiday indoors, there's something truly special about taking the festivities outdoors and embracing the beauty of the fall season. One fantastic way to do this is by setting up an outdoor Thanksgiving table around a warm and inviting fire pit. In this article, we'll explore some creative ideas and tips for styling a cozy outdoor Thanksgiving table that will leave your guests in awe.

1. Choosing the Perfect Location

Before you dive into planning your outdoor Thanksgiving table setting, it's essential to select the perfect location. A well-chosen spot can set the mood and enhance the overall ambiance of your gathering. Ideally, you want a space that is sheltered from strong winds and offers a comfortable seating arrangement for your guests.

thanksgiving fire pit design 

📸 Kara Bowman

If you have a fire pit in your backyard, make use of it! As it will not only provide warmth but also serve as a focal point for your outdoor feast. Alternatively, you can create a temporary fire pit area using bricks or stones, ensuring it's safely positioned away from any flammable objects.

2. Cozy Seating Arrangements

Creating a cozy seating arrangement around a fire pit is essential for cultivating a warm and inviting outdoor space. To enhance the experience, incorporate a variety of seating options like Adirondack chairs, which naturally recline for comfort and relaxation, and sturdy wooden benches that can accommodate more guests. Embellish these with weather-resistant plush cushions to add both comfort and a pop of color. 

cozy seating arrangement for an outdoorspace 

📸 Outdoor Dreams

For a more unconventional and rustic feel, hay bales draped with plaid blankets not only provide a unique seating option but also contribute to the aesthetic of the setting. Don’t forget to scatter some outdoor cushions and throw blankets around, so guests can snuggle up and stay warm as the evening cools down. This mix of furniture and soft furnishings will create a layered and textured look that is as visually appealing as it is comfortable.

3. Fall-Inspired Decor

Embrace the beauty of the fall season by incorporating autumn-inspired decor into your outdoor Thanksgiving table setting. Start with a warm color palette featuring hues like deep red, orange, mustard, and brown. You can use table linens, napkins, and even chair covers in these colors to create a cohesive look.

Thanksgiving outdoor dining table set up 

📸 Beijos Events

For a rustic and natural feel, use elements like burlap table runners, wooden chargers, and mason jar candle holders. Add a touch of elegance with gold or copper accents through utensils, napkin rings, or candle holders.

4. Centerpieces that Wow

Your table's centerpiece is where you can truly make a statement. For an outdoor Thanksgiving table, consider using seasonal elements such as pumpkins, gourds, pinecones, and fall foliage. Create a stunning arrangement by placing these items in a decorative tray or basket, adding some taper candles or LED string lights for an extra touch of warmth and magic.

Pumpkin centerpieces for outdoor thanksgiving 

📸 Kara Bowman

Another fantastic centerpiece idea is to use a wooden crate filled with mini hay bales, mums, and dried corn cobs. This rustic display will capture the essence of the harvest season.

5. Personalized Place Settings

Elevate your outdoor Thanksgiving gathering with custom-tailored place settings that leave a lasting impression on your guests. For a charming, rustic look, consider utilizing small chalkboard signs where you can scribe names in elegant handwriting, giving a personal touch to the table. 

Personalized thanksgiving table centerpiece for guests

📸 Amanda 

Alternatively, miniature pumpkins can serve as organic place card holders, with names elegantly penned on attached tags, seamlessly blending with the seasonal theme. For a more vivid table, vibrant autumn leaves with guests' names scripted on them can double as a festive decor element. These personalized details not only guide guests to their seats but also contribute to the visual harmony and curated feel of your Thanksgiving feast.

6. Warm and Cozy Lighting

Warm and inviting lighting is crucial for extending the comfort of your Thanksgiving celebration into the evening. As the sun sets, the glow from a combination of string lights delicately hung above can bathe your outdoor space in a soft, fairy-tale-like illumination.

cozy lighting for an outdoor thanksgiving dinner 

📸 Nida Rehman

Positioning lanterns around the periphery of your seating area adds layers to your lighting scheme, with candles flickering inside to emulate the starry night sky. Together, the natural light of the fire pit, the gentle dance of candlelight, and the ambient radiance from string lights will envelop your guests in a cozy cocoon, perfect for fostering conversation and togetherness during your festive outdoor event.

7. Thanksgiving Menu to Remember

While the outdoor setting itself will create a memorable experience, the food you serve is the star of the show. Plan a Thanksgiving menu that complements the cozy outdoor setting. Traditional dishes like roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce are always a hit. Consider adding some fall-inspired dishes like roasted butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, or apple pie for dessert.

Outdoor dining for thanksgiving 

📸 Andee Layne

If you have a grill or outdoor cooking setup, you can even prepare some dishes over an open flame to enhance the outdoor cooking experience.

8. Keep Guests Warm

As the crisp air settles in, ensuring your guests' warmth is a top priority for any outdoor celebration. Stock up on a variety of warm, fluffy blankets or fleece throws, inviting your guests to snuggle up as the temperature dips. A charmingly arranged basket filled with single-use hand warmers offers a thoughtful touch, providing a quick and easy source of heat. 

cozy outdoor thanksgiving set up 

📸 Rustic Feather Stone

To further combat the chill, a hot beverage station becomes a welcoming focal point, where guests can serve themselves steaming cups of apple cider, rich hot cocoa, or aromatic mulled wine, each sip spreading warmth from the inside out. These considerations are key to creating a comfortable, memorable outdoor Thanksgiving experience.

9. Thanksgiving Games and Activities

Adding a playful element to your outdoor Thanksgiving with games and activities can elevate the occasion. Engage your guests with classic lawn games like cornhole, which offers simple fun for all ages, or organize a game of touch football to burn off some of that feast.

family thanksgiving activity 

📸 Creative Crayons Workshop

 For those who prefer creativity over competition, a craft station for creating Thanksgiving-themed decorations can be a hit, providing materials for guests to make festive garlands or decorate gratitude stones. And if the skies are generous, a telescope for stargazing adds a touch of wonder, inviting guests to gaze upon the stars and share a moment of cosmic gratitude.

10. Give Thanks Together

Finally, remember the essence of Thanksgiving: giving thanks. Encourage your guests to share what they are thankful for while gathered around the fire pit. You can even provide small notepads and pens for everyone to jot down their gratitude and then share it with the group. It's a heartfelt way to connect with one another and embrace the true spirit of the holiday.

outdoor thanksgiving inspiration 

📸 The Glam Pad

In conclusion, hosting an outdoor Thanksgiving feast around a fire pit can be a truly magical experience. With the right location, seating, decor, lighting, and menu, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that will make your guests feel grateful for the memorable celebration. Ready to design your outdoor Thanksgiving setup? Download the DecorMatters app for inspiration and start planning your cozy celebration today. Gather 'round the fire pit this Thanksgiving and create cherished memories with your loved ones in the beauty of the great outdoors.

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